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Old 02-18-2010, 03:08 AM
 
Location: Canada
5,779 posts, read 6,691,967 times
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I'm not sure this is the right forum for this question but I thought some rural people might have had their own experiences and I'm more than a little freaked out with concern for my dogs and the other livestock.

This morning, one of my dogs attacked (an attempt) or tried to attack a skunk. This skunk was out in broad daylight. My husband intervened with a hoe. Goodbye skunk.

I let the dogs out later and saw a skunk pawing at the barn door, trying to get in. The dogs immediately set out to the skunk who turned and chased them into the garage. I opened the van door, the dogs jumped in, I slammed the door shut, and shouted at the skunk waving a broom. The skunk continued on a path to me as I backed up the stairs. As soon as I did that, the skunk reversed course, and went to the far end of the garage, where there turned out to be skunk number three, if you count the dead one. So maybe the skunk just wanted to get to the other skunk?

Periodically through the BROAD daylight, they kept running around the yard. They were not foaming at the mouth, staggering, exhibiting any obvious signs of paralysis, partial or otherwise or any thing indicating that something was not quite right except for the fact that it was broad daylight. With nightfall, I again let the dogs out to do their business and again a skunk appeared, either defending itself or being aggressive, I don't know.

I called the dogs off immediately and into the house even though they are vaccinated.

If there was only one skunk behaving that way, I would think it had rabies. But three? Could there possibly be three rabid skunks in such continuously close proximity to each other? Aren't rabid animals solitary? Beyond second and third hand stories from generations ago, I have never known anyone who had any contact with a rabid animal in this area.

This is apparently skunk breeding season and for all I know, skunks act that way during breeding season. I've been watching them now for several hours from the window of the house and they are tearing around at top speed, with their tails high in the air, and periodically trying to break into the barn.

I have every intention of calling animal control tomorrow and I am kicking myself for not having done it before but I thought they would disappear and they had just accidentally wandered onto our yard. But they are not disappearing and we do not have garbage lying around, nor is there grain or any feed source which they can get. What they did in the garage is eat (or something) the cat **** in the litter box.

I wasn't around when my husband had his encounter with the skunk, so I don't know if my dogs had any contact with the skunk. I don't know anyone who could just sit here for an unspecified period of time waiting to see the skunks in order to shoot them. They have been visible frequently today and tonight. My husband no longer has guns and his eyesight and other issues make it impossible for him to shoot.

Does anyone know whether rabid skunks behave like this?

Last edited by netwit; 02-18-2010 at 03:11 AM.. Reason: typo
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Old 02-18-2010, 08:08 AM
 
Location: The Woods
17,098 posts, read 22,617,206 times
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Animals don't always show any real sign of having rabies until the very end. Skunks frequently have rabies here in the Northeastern U.S. and I imagine the same is true in Canada. Skunks aren't really scared of much. They're somewhat bold animals to begin with, they don't always run away at the mere sight of a person like some animals do. It's hard to say if they have rabies but I'd just assume they do and act accordingly. I have dealt with a skunk that was obviously rabid out camping once; I shot it with my revolver. There may not be a recorded instance in a long time of rabies there, but that means little if no rabid animal caused a problem for people...
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Old 02-18-2010, 08:03 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
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Skunks, foxes and raccoons have all tested positive for rabies here in MD over the last several years. Mostly raccoons.
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Old 02-18-2010, 09:36 PM
 
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It is possible any one of them could have the virus. What did you do with the dead skunk? I would call game & fish to pick it up & they will probably send a sample to a lab to have the animal tested. Your animal control/game & fish may still be able to, if you still have it. I would imagine that animal control will set live traps out to capture the rest of the skunks.

As far as your dogs, be sure to ask animal control when you speak with them tomorrow. They should be able to direct you as to what, if any, treatment your may dogs need. My dad's friend had an issue with a skunk and his bobcat (yes, legal- all documentation/proper permits & he has had her for over a decade). The bcat has a large outdoor enclosure, and one night a small skunk managed to get through the fence. My dad's poor friend woke up to find that the bcat had eaten the skunks head, and presented him with the rest of it Because she had eaten the head there was no way to test for rabies, so she had to be isolated & observed for two weeks under a vets care. She came out all clear though
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Old 02-19-2010, 12:51 AM
 
Location: northeast US
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I had a serious issue with a half dozen rabid skunks last summer.

I bought a greasy Italian sub sandwich/grinder with extra cold cuts, don't laugh this method works, cut it into quarters, and mixed plenty of rat poison pellets into the sandwich. I placed the sandwich parts inside 8" plant containers, laid on their sides to keep rain out, and positioned them where I had seen the skunks wandering looking for food. Every now and then I noticed a skunk with it's head inside eating. When they were done I bought a new sandwich, repeat. A week to 10 days later no more skunks, and no dead skunks or messy clean up to deal with.

I read that canned peaches, chocolate, or peanut butter w/ jelly would work, and tried that, but these skunks were attracted to the "special recipe" Italian grinder.
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Old 02-19-2010, 12:32 PM
 
Location: The Woods
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I wouldn't use poison, too much risk. It might crawl off somewhere and die there and then you're stuck with the stink of a rotting animal.
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Old 02-20-2010, 06:56 PM
 
Location: northeast US
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Skunks don't really stink when they drop dead but you can always throw a shovel of dirt over it.
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Old 02-20-2010, 07:16 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
20,494 posts, read 38,417,337 times
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I beg to differ, having had personal experience, skunks do, indeed, stink to high heaven when they drop dead, especially if you don't know it and don't get to them right away. Much worse than other critters that drop dead. Gag-worthy, in fact.

So, yes, indeed, bury them deep!
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Old 02-21-2010, 08:24 AM
 
Location: The Woods
17,098 posts, read 22,617,206 times
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Skunks stink when dead. I trapped a handful this year. Skinning and working the pelts is quite a stinky job. As a sidenote, the skunk essence (spray) is worth almost as much as the pelts sometimes...
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Old 02-21-2010, 12:08 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
18,572 posts, read 55,502,062 times
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Dead skunks don't stink??? LOL! Good wun.
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